Summary : Revel in the excitement of crossing the famed Drake Passage after embarking from Ushuaia, with the convenience of a northbound return flight at the end of your expedition. Minke and humpback whales or Adélie penguins floating on ice floes may greet you as you pass, en-route to the northernmost tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll develop a new appreciation and understanding of Antarctica’s extreme contrasts - rugged mountain peaks and fragile ecosystems; stark icescapes and gregarious penguins. Plus, there are one-of-a-kind experiences with options to kayak and snowshoe on this spectacular continent.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking
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This quaint city at the southernmost tip of South America is your gateway to Antarctica. The city itself provides a wide range of jewelry shops, cafes, gear shops and restaurants to explore on your own before your voyage, while the surrounding mountains offer ample adventure activities if you’re wanting to discover the rugged nature of Tierra del Fuego.
Embark in the afternoon, with a journey through the picturesque Beagle Channel. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and be out on deck, as the channel is home to a wide variety of wildlife including seabirds and seals. Rainbows are common here too, creating a great photography opportunity to kick off the start to your Antarctic adventure.
Legendary for its high winds and rolling seas, you may get lucky and enjoy the pleasant surprise of calm seas. Spend your time in the lounge or chatting with your fellow travelers. As you develop your sea legs during the crossing, the Expedition Team will begin their series of presentations and help prepare you for upcoming Zodiac and land excursions. Officially enter Antarctica when your ship crosses the Antarctic Convergence, a biological boundary that fluctuates around 60° south.
Icebergs are the first attractions that welcome you to Antarctica. Massive floating bergs become more common as you get closer to land and catch your first glimpse of the Peninsula, with its grand snow-covered mountains. In addition to spotting icebergs, you’ll likely observe penguins on ice floes and whales feeding and swimming in the frigid waters.
As soon as possible, the Zodiacs will be readied for the first landing in the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. The first time you experience this immense wilderness up close can be a numbing experience. The silence is great, the vastness is even greater. Thankfully the noisy locals – penguins and seals – are there to remind you that this wonderful landscape isn’t just a dream.
Your Expedition Team will monitor the ice and weather conditions to determine which landing sites can be visited. With many sites to choose from, each expedition presents new opportunities for exploring the white continent by Zodiac and land. Swimming in Antarctica is perhaps the most adventurous option you can enjoy, by taking a polar-dip in the water at Neko Harbour. A typical day in this wildlife wonderland will be spent listening to calving glaciers at Petermann Island, watching penguins waddle around a beach, or taking a hike atop a hill for a panoramic view of Port Lockroy. Whatever you prefer, the photographic opportunities are endless.
As the ship turns north, say goodbye to the penguins. With only the Drake Passage ahead, disembark and enjoy a bit of time on King George Island before flying to Punta Arenas, Chile. Once you’re in Punta Arenas, transfer from the airport to your hotel, where you’re free to explore on you're own.
After breakfast, make your own way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flight or continue on with other adventures.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must have a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler.ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Sea Kayaking Option:
Not included in cruise rate. Must be pre-booked prior to the departure. Taken in small groups of 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Minimum age 16 years. It is recommended you have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Snowshoeing Option: 12/6/2016 only
Included in cruise rate. Anyone can take part, no previous experience necessary. Snowshoes available free of charge for excursions when conditions permit.
Every effort will be made to ensure the program takes place, but due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and on rare occasions not possible. For this reason, we strongly recommend that all expedition travellers purchase a travel insurance policy including trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance in case of weather. The shipping company will make every effort to assist passengers with rebooking hotels or flights, but this will be at the cost of the passengers. Passengers on board the ship during a delay will remain on board with no additional cost until the time in which the charter flight is able to arrange transport. Passengers are advised to book changeable airlines tickets and have flexible travel arrangements upon disembarkation of the voyage in case delays arise. ExpeditionTrips will not be held responsible for any change/cancellations fees due to weather related delays or any other delays arising from force majeure.
Group transfers in Ushuaia from the airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1; one night pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia (the number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel); group transfer to ship on embarkation day; flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas on disembarkation day; group transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to hotel; one night post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board ship; photographic journal; waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; parka to keep; coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes, Argentina's Reciprocity Fee; meals ashore unless specified; kayaking; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, except for ones mentioned as included; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges; phone and internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; transfer from hotel to airport at the end of voyage; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only to travel between the first and last day of the expedition purchased. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.